Aug 24, 2014

Thu, Aug 24, 1944: flowers are tossed

"The people of France are very joyful on being liberated from German control.  When we go through towns flowers are tossed on the jeep.  Bottles are brought out from hiding and everyone is happy.  Little kids and old men want to shake hands.  Cigaretts are in demand about the only English we hear is from children who say ‘Cigarette for Paw Paw.’
"Foot soldiers have quite a time. I saw a beautiful girl push her way into the colum and plant a juicy kiss on a pleased G.I.'s cheek.  He's been in a dazed condition since."

-- Letter from Dale Sooter, France, to my father, Notre Dame, Ind., August 24, 1944.  Allied forces landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944.   Dale was my father's cousin.  This letter was written one day before Paris was liberated by allied forces, aided by Resistance fighters who had already begun an uprising.  The French Free forces of General Philippe Leclerc were the first to enter the city.

Aug 16, 2014

Wed, Aug 16, 1944: haymaking

"Monday, Bato got here to help put up the prairie hay.  The haymaking is progressing slowly.  Last night we had a shower accompanied by lots of wind so the hay was too damp to work with until after noon.  Now to-night it is showering again.  We really need the rain badly though and the cooler weather that follows the showers is very refreshing...
"Jack Seal writes that he is back with his company again and is O.K."

--Letter from my grandmother to my father, Wednesday, August 16, 1944

Wed, Aug 16, 1944: Normandy invasion

"Yesterday a Lieutenant Commander, who had just returned from the Normandy invasion, in which he participated aboard an LST, attempted to get us all enthused about the amphibs.  He made a good speech, but I was amused at certain statements.  'Study hard while you're here.  If you can't pass the test, which we give at Solomons (an amphib training base) we'll send you back to school.  If that happens, you may never see any action in this war.' The foregoing words approximately sum up a portion of his speech.  He also went on to say that a high grade average here is necessary for that duty.  Heretofore 90% of the men from this school have gone to the amphibious forces.  However, after that speech the boys are contemplating discarding their books for the rest of the term and getting by with a 2.501 average to avoid this assignment, which necessitates top grades."

-- Letter from my father, Notre Dame, Ind., to his family, Bloomington, Kans., Wednesday, August 16, 1944.

Aug 11, 2014

Fri, Aug 11, 1944: glad to go home

“Daddy probably told you about hiring some German prisoners to help with the hay.  Just to see them without P.W. all over their clothing they would easily pass for American boys.  They were very mannerly and polite around the house (probably had a lot of instruction along that line).  One carried his German-English dictionary with him and if he couldn't think of the word out came his dictionary.  They really worked fine.  One was thirty-four one was twenty-four and one twenty-one.  The youngest was the best looking with brown eyes and wavy hair.  He couldn't speak English and was rather sad and dejected acting.  All of them said they would be glad to go home.”

-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Notre Dame, Ind., Friday, August 11, 1944.

Aug 8, 2014

Sun, Aug 6, 1944: the Chaplain

"Have you been writing that gal in Cape -- if you can't tell it to the Chaplain write and tell it to me.
"Your Pal

-- Letter from Rip Tallent, Asbury Park, N.J., to my father, Notre Dame, Ind., Sunday, August 6, 1944.  Rip Tallent was a fellow classmate of my father from his Navy V-12 program in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Sun, Aug 6, 1944: German prisoners

"cut the alfalfa for the third time this year last Thursday and put it in the north barn on Friday, to help put it in the barn I got three German prisoner's from El Dorado, they have a camp of about 80 prisoners in it you can get them for forty five cents an hour for eight hours and you are allowed 50¢ per prisoner for going after them and taking them back you have to have them back in camp by 7 oclock, they were good workers, one could talk pretty good English, so we got along pretty good.  They were captured in Africa last Sept.  I ask one of them if he would rather be in Africa or in this country, he said in Africa, in Africa we are free men, in this country we a prisoners, he said. I went after them and took them back, there was no guard with them."
-- Letter from my grandfather, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Notre Dame, Ind., Sunday, August 6, 1944.  

Thu, Aug 3, 1944: a little peeved

"I think the girls are a little peeved at me because they wanted to go fishing with a bunch of kids the other evening after the 4-H meeting.  It was 10:30 P.M. when they were asked to go along and I thought it was too late since Barbara had to plow the next day. I think the other kids aimed to fish until daylight.  So consequently they think I've abused them although they have been to the picture show, horse back riding, swimming two or three times, Sunday school, to Augusta all day and intend to go swimming to-day."
-- Letter from my grandmother, Bloomington, Kans., to my father, Notre Dame, Ind., Thursday, August 3, 1944.  Barbara Jean O’Neil was visiting my aunt Barbara that week.